Woo boy, I thought this argument had died down back in 2010.
Turns out I was wrong.
There are many justifications hacks use to avoid criticism, especially on the internet. From calling on the fanboys/fangirls to white knight them like the little princesses they are, to just trying to derail the conversation (I don’t see /you/ doing better) to reducing it to name calling.
I am not here to repeat the same stuff people have said in the past. If you get it you get it, if you just want to just post your art on DeviantArt and want to have a good time, I don’t object to that and this post isn’t targeted at you. Have fun if you want to have fun.
And look, I am not here to direct insults at the average person who does this for himself and his friends, or who just wants to have a webcomic in his corner of the internet to do for fun. I am not in the business of calling out young artists just for the sake of making them have a reaction and calling them shit twenty-four times with a note in the end to get better at drawing ain’t gona make things better for both sides.
No, what I hate is when hacks use this argument (you know who I am talking about).
Because goddammit,”THIS IS MY STYLE” creates such a strong response from both sides. I guess its because it has the word “art" in it, and its a point one could use deductive reasoning and Sequential Logic (fat chance) to argue about art and philosophy and whatever tingles you at the moment.
Again, I don’t want to repeat whatever everybody has said (even if I am going to deconstruct this argument), its just that this argument, usually the first line of defense in a hack’s arsenal, always gets me on some level.
Do you even know what that phrase means.
Allow to get serious. What is an “art style”? Breaking it down, the old definition of art was considered the skill in something, (i.e, the art of carpentry, the art of engineering, etc), while style means the way and manner in which something is done aka, the technique. Putting those together, it means the way in which the manner or way in which your skills are applied.
As you may note, that still means that style relies on some way to skills, which also means that it doesn’t matter if you draw the dog with perspective that would make M.C. Escher puke, it still comes down to raw skill.
And before somebody tries to argue the point, there’s a reason why I go with the old definition of art. This whole argument comes down to semantics, and call me pedantic but I never like this current definition of art as something that is “enjoyable” or “nice”, as I also consider it to be the rotten root of this argument. The thinking goes that because its an “art” style, and because it has the word art in it (and because of this idea art is ”subjective/objective”) that means its rendered immune from traditional criticism.
Just like the contrarian decadent insert-pretentious-term-here “modern" art critics can’t understand that just because something is art does not exempt it from being shit art, the same way the internet hacks can’t understand that just because something has and art "style" does not mean its exempt from being a bad art style.
To simplify and to avoid sticking my head up my ass, there are bad art styles and there are good art styles, and lets be honest here, in the world of webcomics (and the internet in general) the former is more prevalent than the latter.
Art is supposed to be a mirror in which reflects the world. The person who draws the human figure and chooses to purposely extravagate it knows what he is doing compared to the person who does no. Art has its roots in the observation of reality, because humans live in reality and so everything that we produce corresponds to that reality.
This is not meant to diss modern art movements (well, at least not all of them), or to attack kids that are just getting into this, its meant to make one thing clear:
When certain artists *cough*HopkingsJollyjackYouknowtherest*cough* draw an anthropomorphic animal (a furry if you will), they are basing it in the reality of the human anatomical figure. We may not know how a certain animal/pokemon/alien/whatever-they-were-fapping-to-at-the-time looks, but we sure as hell know how a goddamn human looks, so we know when the human elements are jarringly wrong, or when the flesh of the furry looks like exploding tumor volcanoes.
When certain artists *cough*GallagherChrisHartMostofDeviantArt*cough* (boy, I’ve been coughing a lot) draw an actual human being, the same obviously applies. Just because they draw them like an anime with eyes so far apart you would assume they were eagles or something, that does not mean it makes it any less jarring.
No amount of style will hide the fact that the skill or the technique are wrong.
And this doesn’t just apply to human anatomy. Unless you are a comic book artist from the 90s, drawing a webcomic or illustrating doesn’t begin and end with drawing human(oids). There are backgrounds, objects, skies, landscapes, mountain sides and a million other things that you can benefit from by observing.
But of course, the catch is that you have to observe those things, and most of the time just look at photos from the internet will not give you the full experience.
Sometimes, you just need to go outside and observe.
I ain’t talking about just going to a con or something (through that helps if you know what you are doing), I am talking about going outside, researching, and meeting people, go to trips where you immerse yourself in the environment, learn how it feels and how to draw a forest, an oil rig, a populated city center, talk to other people, understand their experiences, their stories, and try to put that emotion into paper.
More importantly, learn to draw all of that, and learn to draw that well.
Art and style isn’t just about pleasing yourself. The internet is a public forum and that negates that the people who see it will praise it and critique it. I do not want to say that you are a bad artist, you can become a great painter or sculptor, whenever you want as long as you love doing it. What I am am trying to say that the thinking of “its my style” in the long run will hinder and rot you.
Now get drawing tigers.